A Jefferson Parish jury convicted Johnny Fair, 29, of second-degree murder Thursday night in the 2012 killing of a woman found dead in the bathroom doorway of her Barry Avenue apartment in Old Jefferson.
Fair, an admitted drug dealer convicted in 2008 of negligent homicide for shooting a man two years earlier, will serve a life sentence for shooting Tiffany Frey, 36, in the back of her head.
He will not be eligible for parole, probation or a suspended sentence.
Fair, who spent much of prosecutors’ closing arguments Thursday shaking his head and mouthing the word “no,” will be formally sentenced March 4 in 24th Judicial District Judge Stephen Grefer’s court.
The jury took about an hour to return the verdict.
Frey, who was a drug addict and an acquaintance of Fair’s, was in her apartment with three men using drugs on Jan. 10, 2012, the night she was shot.
In two days of testimony, prosecutors Rachel Africk and Jimmy Myers built a case that Fair had been threatening Frey for squealing about a shooting in Hollygrove and that the heavy, highly visible police activity near the apartment that night due to an unrelated police shooting of a carjacker made him shoot her in a fit of paranoia.
Police didn’t find Fair until almost two weeks later, and the murder weapon was never found, but one bullet and two casings from a .40-caliber handgun were found on the scene and a box of .40-caliber ammunition was found in Fair’s apartment.
Prosecutors said the shells matched those Fair used in a 2006 shooting — one he claimed was done in self-defense — that netted him a 2008 conviction for negligent homicide.
Fair’s defense rested on the fact that the case against him was largely based on the testimony of the other men there at the time, two of whom had been jailed in order to make sure they testified.
One of the men, Sean Brooks, a friend of Frey’s, told the jury he tried to get her to leave the apartment because he feared for her life. He said Frey refused to leave, instead opting to smoke crack, and Fair, who lived next door, came in soon afterward, shot her and told everyone to leave.
Brooks, who is partially paralyzed from an earlier gunshot wound, testified that he limped to a nearby hospital and told an off-duty police officer that Fair had killed Frey.
In her closing arguments, defense attorney Jessica Mullaly asked why Fair would shoot a friend and good customer and leave witnesses behind, one of whom he didn’t even know.
Myers, however, told the jury that Fair’s reputation preceded him, a reference to the 2006 shooting, and that his basic pattern was to shoot, flee the scene and then ditch his clothing and the weapon.